By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
There are four kinds of people in the world, namely active bad people, active good people, passive bad people and passive good people.
The recent incident in Rifle Range, in which at least five people walked past a Chinese elderly woman who was snatched and fell to unconsciousness without lifting a finger to help her, showed us all the four kinds of people.
The active bad people here is of course referring to the snatch thief who caused the death the of elderly woman and he should receive the most severe punishment.
Whereas the good samaritans, including airport cargo worker B. Saravana Kumar and fellow flat resident Khoo Ean Ooi, who helped the elderly woman, are the active good people.
The passive bad people are those who walked passed the elderly woman without trying to help.
And the passive good people might be the majority of people, including you and me, who condemn the bad guys and lament the indifference of the society. However, if a similar incident takes place in front of you, what would you do?
Please allow me to tell a story here. It might be a true or fictional story, but the point is the implicit meaning it brings.
In Guizhou, China, a bus was climbing a hill. The driver was a pretty woman and the bus was filled with passengers.
When the bus stopped at a station, three mobsters boarded the bus and an evil thought was incited when they saw the driver. They then started to try to pull her from her seat.
The woman struggled, and a thin male passenger suddenly stood up and shouted, "What are you doing? Stop it!"
A mobster replied in foul language, "Hey you! Wanna die?" The mobsters then assaulted the man until he was too weak to move.
At that moment, some passengers in the bus were in silent resentment, while some pretended they did not see it. They continued to eat snacks, play with their children or pretend to be asleep.
The driver was pulled off the bus.
An hour later, she returned, sobbing. The three mobsters also boarded the bus.
Before she started the engine, she shouted to the man who tried to save her, "You! Get off the bus!"
The man was staggered, "I risked my life just now trying to save you and I'm now badly injured. How dare you ask me to get off?"
The driver ignored him and said loudly, "If you don't get off, I wouldn't start the engine."
Other passengers on board was anxious and suddenly, those eating their snacks had stopped eating and those who were "sleeping" had suddenly awake. Together, they shouted,"Can't you hear her? She asked you to get off! So just leave the bus! Everyone here is in a rush, don't make more troubles! Just go!"
In the end, the man was thrown out of the bus.
The man's body was hurt, so did his heart. He walked for a long time and finally, found a small hotel. He was very sad and cried all night.
The next morning, he went to a shop for breakfast.
He then heard a TV news report, "A bus fell off a cliff, killing all passengers on board yesterday. The cause of the incident is still under investigation."
The man was shocked and he burst into tears after a long while.
Those passengers who were in silent resentment or aloof might not be bad. Perhaps, they were even rule-abiding people. However, at the critical moment when they were facing good and evil, they chose to remain silent. Eventually, they paid the price.
Many tragedies, including the incident took place in Rifle Range, happened not because most people had did something bad, but because most people had chosen to be passive.
When the society becomes more indifferent and utilitarianism is pursued, everyone will someday become sacrifices, just like the passengers in the bus.